Monday, November 14, 2011

Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish by Janet Halfmann, Book Review

One of our favorite children's authors is back with another title about sea creatures, this time featuring the common starfish of the Pacific Coast.  Illustrated with collages of hand-painted papers of watercolor stencils and textures Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish is as beautiful to look at as it is engaging and education.
With the ocean her home, an ochre sea star hunts for her morning meal.  She folds over her rays and grips the rocky shore with sticky feet as she feasts on shellfish.  When she takes too long, the tide flows back without her and Sea Star becomes easy prey.  But she is built to survive and eventually makes her way back to the sea, although with one less ray than before.  This inspiring story informs young children about the important role of a small but fascinating sea creature.
Every time I read one of Halfmann's books I am impressed by how seamlessly she blends the narrative with interesting facts about her subject.  Children are engaged following along with Starfish on her travels for the day, all the while learning tidbits of information.  I am always surprised when my daughter brings up some of the things she's learned at seemingly random times. 

For instance, over the weekend, we were watching some video I took at our last trip to the circus, she turned to me and said, "Hey, Starfish is better than those guys.  Bet no one had to teach her!"  I admit I had no idea what she was talking about at first.  It wasn't until she ran and brought me the book that I made the connection.  At one point Halfmann compares Starfish to a circus acrobat and ER had remembered, even though it had been over a week since we'd last read the book.

I always learn a thing or two about the Halfmann's characters and this time was no different.  I think that's why her stories continue to impress us so much.  Star of the Sea in particular is a lovely experience, between the interesting facts and captivating pictures it's a title to enjoy over and over.  I highly recommend it for teachers to use with ocean themes and as one for parents to pick up for their children after a trip to the ocean or aquarium.  It's sure to bring up memories and teach your child more about the sea life they've just seen. 


2 Friends Said:

Liz Mays said...

I love that the story stuck with her so much. That's a good sign!

Janet Halfmann: said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful review of my book. Your daughter is a SUPER listener! Happy Reading to All!

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